Careful who you sext: a new study says steamy messengers have these problematic character flaws

Cue the red flags!

closeup of a young caucasian woman face down in bed using a smartphone, sext, sexting
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new study said those who sext over dating apps, direct messages, or traditional texts could potentially have red flag-inducing character traits, so you might want to think twice before exchanging a few steamy shots. 

Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, MDPI, survived over 6,000 participants across 11 countries and discovered that those who enjoy sexting are likely to possess two of three characteristics from the Dark Triad model, including narcissism and Machiavellianism. (The third trait is psychopathy. Eek!)

The research was broken down into three main components: experimental sexting, which is the typical behavior between two consenting parties; risky sexting, meaning sexting done while under the influence or with partners who are strangers; and aggravated sexting, which is coercive sexting or sharing sexts without one's consent. 

After a deep dive into surveyors' responses, the study uncovered that men are more likely to participate in risky and aggravated sexting. Risky sexting was favorable amongst the older participants, but aggravated sexting was more prevalent in younger age groups, which is of great concern—for all age groups—considering it is associated with non-consensual behavior and pressuring partners.

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"Personality traits may offer an important contribution in our understanding of different kinds of sexting behaviors," the study found. 

(Psst: astrologers say you can tell a lot about your lover according to their star sign.)

While some of the terms are cause for concern, this does not mean that all who participate in racy message exchanges are vain or self-centered. The most important factors to keep in mind when sharing an NSFW image are your level of trust and mutual respect for your partner as well as accepting their boundaries. 

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If these findings threw you for a little bit of a loop, there are still ways to turn up the heat: We've rounded up the best reviewed sex toys and handy app-controlled vibrators so you can have some fun all by yourself.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.